Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bhindi Masala / Okra masala

Hello friends! Been away from the blogosphere for a while! We are having scorching temperatures here and trying to stay cool seems a challenge!Here is a simple okra/ bhindi masala recipe made on a weekday! I used fresh and some frozen okra for this.

Did you know our " ladies finger " is called Okra in Africa, USA and phillipines! All other English speaking countries call them ladies finger! Many people are put off by the sliminess of Okra, but it is great source of fibre for our body. I have always made sambhar, vendaikkai fry, so cooking with tomatoes gave a different taste to okra for me.

Get Ready
  • 2 cups chopped okra/ vendakkai/ bhindi
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 big onion chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida/ perungayam
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds


1. In a wide pan add 1 tbsp oil and sauté the okra with a pinch of salt for 10 mins. This helps to take the sliminess away. Set this aside.

2. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and add the cumin seeds. Let them crackle.
3. Add the onions and fry till soft.
4. Add the ginger garlic,tomatoes and fry for few secs.
5. Add all the masala powders , pinch of salt and fry for a few mins.

6. Cover and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.

7. Uncover, add the okras and mix well.

8. Cover and cook on low flame for 5-7 mins
9. Uncover, check salt and spices. Add red chilli powder or salt according to your taste.
10. Let it cook uncovered for 2 mins and is ready to eat.

Serve hot with  chapathi, rice.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mango Ice cream

Mango season may be there in India, but not ! we do get mangoes from mexico, phillipines and other countries but not our yummy indian mangoes! US imposed an import ban on Alphonso mangoes in 1989 and you may find only pulp sold in cans here! Alphonso (known as Hapoos हापूस in Marathi) is a seasonal mango cultivar that is considered as one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. (source wikipedia). 

Alphonso mangoes are not a common variety available in south India. I grew up eating lots of banganapalli magoes which larger with unblemished golden yellow skin with sweet pulp and no fibres!

Most of the mangoes sold in the US are one of the following varieties: Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Atasulfo, francis.

Some fun facts about mangoes! 
  • Mangoes are the most popular fruit in the World
  • Mangoes were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago
  • Mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
  • The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of a mango
  • Mangoes are related to cashews and pistachios

  • Without further ranting, here is what you need! i think it is self explanatory that you do need a freezer to make ice cream!

    Ingredients for mango Ice cream!

    Mix condensed milk, mango pulp and cool whip till every thing is well incorporated.

    Transfer into a container, cover and freeze for 4-6 hrs.

    Serve for your guests or enjoy with your family! This ice cream is always a star in any dinner parties or pot lucks!

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    Colorful Black bean Salad

     Here is a very simple, hearty and delectable salad.

    The only job, trust me is to chop a few vegetables in to bite site pieces similar to the black beans. One can use chick peas, red kidney beans or moong beans. I used canned black beans plus what I had in my refrigerator. fell free to play with any veggies that you may want to use.

    Get Ready ( serves 4)

    • 1 15 oz can of balck beans, rinsed & drained
    • 1 small onion chopped ( red would be the best)
    • 1 orange bell pepper de seeded and chopped
    • 6-7 cherry tomatoes halved
    • 1 small mango chopped ( iused the one sliced from costco)
    • 1 corn steamed and separate the kernels ( frozen will work fine too)
    • plenty of chopped cilantro
    • 2 green chillies finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp chaat masala
    • salt to taste


    Seriously nothing other than mixing everything and eating.

    one does not even need a dressing for this salad. The juice from tomato plus chaat masala will be sufficient.

    It is sweet, crunchy, spicy and wonderful!


    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Zucchini Moor koottan / Zucchini moru curry

    Zucchini / cougette is a type of squash available in summer in USA. I did not know that it is also called seemai sorakkai in India. I have never eaten in before I came abroad. I have made a simple vegetable dish with onion and channal dal which my kids love. Yes, sorry, i have never bothered to post that on my blog. Zucchini has a lot of water and can get easily over cooked which has happened to me ehile making kootu !

    I have also made  Zucchini Rice which tastes nice which you can check it out.

    This time i made a moor kootan with Zucchini and we all loved it. Here is the recipe!

    Get Ready

    • 1 zucchini washed and cut in big chunks
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt/ thayir whisked

    To Grind

    • 2-3 tbsp grated coconut
    • 1/2 tsp rice
    •  1/4 tsp jeera
    • 1 green chili
    • small piece of ginger ( optional)

    To Temper/ tadka/ thallika

    • 1/2 tsp coconut oil ( or nay oil)
    • 1/2 tsp kadugu/ mustard seeds
    • 1/4 tsp vendhayam/ fenugreek seeds
    • 1/4 tsp asafetida/ hing
    • few curry leaves

    • In a bowl add 3/4 cup water, pieces of zuke, turmeric powder, salt and cook till zucchini is just soft. as I warned you it can get mushy pretty fast, so keep an eye on the cooking time.
    • Grind all the ingredients under to grind with little water to a fine paste and set aside.
    • add the whisked yogurt, ground paste to the cooked zucchini.
    •  adjust salt to taste.
    • Heat on low flame till the mixture gets frothy around the sides, turn the heat off
    •  in another pan, add oil and temper with kadugu, vendhayam, asafetida, curry leaves and por it on the zuke curry.

    Serve hot with rice, potato fry or as a side dish for idli, dosa or adai

    Monday, December 9, 2013

    Mixed vegetable Kurma

    Certain events, smells, food etc in life bring back great memories.
    One such thing for me is vegetable kurma! Growing up in a very orthodox tambram household eating kurma/ kuruma was out of question, even if it was full of vegetables. 
    The strong garlic flavored kurma s served with parottas were a treat if we went to eat out, which we rarely did too!
    I first tasted a very flavorful kurma at my dear friend Aarthi's house in Brooklyn, NYC! Yes, you read that correct,of all the places , brooklyn. We both were residents and she invited my family for dinner at her place. She served kurma with ghee rice and I still recall that wonderful aroma and taste of the food served by Aarthi.

    I have modified it a little to my ease and here I present with the wonderful vegetable Kurma.
    My MIL made idiyappams ( recipe to follow soon) and we devoured them with this kurma.

    Get Ready ( serves 6- 8 people)

    • 3 cups mixed frozen vegetables
    • 1 large potato peeled and diced
    • 1 large onion sliced ( i used some left over red and white onions)
    • 1 large tomato
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1-2 cloves
    • 1 cardamom
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp salt or to taste

     To grind

    • 2 green chillies ( more if you need hot)
    • 2 inch piece ginger peeled and chopped
    • 1 tsp khus khus/ kasa kasa/ poppy seeds
    • 1 tbsp cashews 9 soak the kasa kasa and cashews in little water)
    • 1 tbsp saunf/ sombu
    • 2 cloves of garlic ( optional) i did not use garlic
    • 1/3 cup grated coconut


    • Soak the kasa kasa cashews for 20 mins. Gind it with coconut, saunf, green chilli and ginger and garlic
    •  ( optional) into a fine paste with little water. keep aside
    • in a  samll pressure cooker, add oil and add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and fry for few seconds.
    • When fragrant, add the onions and saute till translucent.
    • Add the tomatoes and fry for a few mins.
    • Add the mixed veggies, potato and  saute for 1-2 mins.
    • Add the ground coconut paste, water just barely enough to cover the vegetables and salt to taste.
    • Cover the cooker and pressure cook for 1 whistle. simmer for 7-10 mins and turn the heat off.

    Serve hot with idiyappam, aapam, chappathi or puttu.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Fruit salad

    Thanks giving is round the corner! All you peeps must be getting ready to have friends and family over to celebrate!
    So here is an easy dessert that will be a crowd pleaser. The only work is chopping the fruits, but you must be having a lot of manpower in the household. So put them to use..!

    A very easy make ahead dish and that will make you a rock star in any party!

    Get Ready

    • 1, 8 oz tub Cool whip lite
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 mangoes diced small
    • 1/2 cup grapes cut in half
    • 1 small tub blueberries
    • 1 pear peeled and diced ( soak them in water mixed with lemon juice so they don't brown)
    • 3 cups strawberries hulled and chopped
    • chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds ( optional)

    any other fruits that you have in hand  like oranges, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple and bananas

    • In a bowl add the cool whip, sour cream, sugar. Whip till the sugar is well incorporated
    • Add the chopped fruits, toss them well
    • Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.
    • Add bananas, apple etc at the end before serving so they don't change color.
    • Serve chilled as a dessert.

    Also check out my cranberry orange bread and Cranberry Salsa

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Aloo Methi / Potato and Fenugreek greens curry

    Fenugreek greens or mendhiya keerai  is widely used in the Indian cuisine. The seeds, green leaves and dries leaves are used in cooking. It has a distinctive sweet smell and the seeds are pretty bitter.
    It is thought to have a lot of medicinal value to improve glucose tolerance in diabetics. Did you know it can increase milk production in nursing mothers too!

    Aloo methi is a very simple dry curry/ subzi which is easy to put together. I used half a bunch that I got from the Indian store.

    Get ready
    • Potatoes 4-5 peeled and cubed medium
    • Water enough to cook the potatoes
    • Methi leaves  ( washed, picked and chopped ) 1 cup
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1 red chilli
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds / kadugu
    • 1/2 tsp urad dal/ ulutham paruppu
    • 1/8 tsp asafetida or 3 squirts from the bottle
    • 1/2 tsp red  chilli powder ( increase as per taste)
    • 1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala or amchur  powder ( optional)
    • Salt to taste

    • In a pan add the potatoes, cover with enough water . Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric powder and cook till they are soft, but not mushy. You can microwave them with water too. Drain water and set aside

    • In another pan, add oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilli, asafetida and do the tempering.

    • Add the methi leaves and sauté them till the wilt.

    • Add the cooked potatoes, red chilli powder, salt, red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and toss.

    • On medium to low heat, cover the pan and cook tossing in between to roast the potatoes.
    • To get some crispness, spray some cooking oil on the potatoes.
    • Cook on low fire till potatoes are golden and crispy.
    • Serve hot with rice, chapathi or top it over bread toast.